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02720: Inquisitor, Malvernis (converted)


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(I haven't forgotten about Argonnite, Elf Cleric; he's finished, but the photos I just took are horrible. I'll wrap up his WIP thread and post in Show Off a bit later.)


I'm going to be playing in a D&D 4E campaign revisiting T1 The Village Of Hommlet. It's going to be awesome, even if we never get to the Temple of Elemental Evil. We're starting at 4th level, and I'm planning to play a human Wis/Int Avenger of Ioun. The character concept I have in mind is a relentlessly nerdy bookish guy who studied at the local Temple of Ioun (goddess of knowledge in the implied setting). While he was there, he discovered that his analytical habits work just as well when applied to Very Large Swords, and did a triple major in history, religion, and melee combat.


So I went through the Reaper catalogue looking for appropriate figures, and picked out a few that might work. When I went looking at my FLGS, I couldn't find any of them, and just before I placed an order I had the idea to do an Inquisitor, Malvernis conversion. "Just swap out the staff for a sword," I thought. "What could be easier?"


Well, here's what I ended up with. (Sorry about some of the photos; I'm trying a different background with hopes that it won't freak out my camera's sensor quite so much. I'm not there yet.)


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I clipped the lower part of the staff off, drilled it (poorly; you can see green-stuff covering the side of the hole), and used it as the sword's grip. Similarly, the guard comes from the top of the staff (below the hook), also drilled. I cut, filed, carved, and scraped the blade itself out of 0.040" plasticard. I had to bend the arm up at the elbow and down at the wrist (which required some work with a razor saw) to get it posed properly. Even so, I had to stack the model on a bunch of pennies to fit the sword on the base.


The face... well, I wasn't digging the Sub-Zero mask on the original figure all that much. I got the mask off with clippers, but then it took close to an hour with needle files to hollow out the hood. I ended up using my pin vise as an end mill to remove a lot of the material and wishing I'd bought a Dremel. After that, I sliced the face off of an old GW Eldar head and trimmed it to fit. If I had to do it again, I'd file down the thickness even more, but this doesn't look too bad. The plastic face left a noticeable gap at the top of the head, which I filled with green-stuff "hair".


I'm planning to do the robes in a nice deep red, the shirt and trousers in ochre, and the gloves, boots, and other bits in brownish leather. Since he's supposed to be wearing cloth "armour" I'm going to try to play down the breastplate/pauldrons/greaves thing the figure has going on. The putty should have cured by about midnight tonight, at which point I'll prime him -- then the real fun can start on Thursday, when the gesso's dry.

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This afternoon I picked up the "useful browns" triad (or whatever it's called), and changed my plans slightly. Now the idea is to bring the inner bits (as well as some of the accessories) up from walnut brown, and use cinder brown as a base for either leather (gloves, backpack, etc) or red (inner cloak, not-plate, etc). Well, it's easier to show on the model, as I've laid down the base coats on everything but the base:


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Not sure what to do about the eyes: in the hand, he has a very narrow squinty sort of look, much like Clint Eastwood, but in the photos that's not so apparent. Colours are walnut brown (dark), cinder brown (light), green ochre (trim), red brick (cloak), rosy skin (face), tarnished brass (guards), and tarnished steel (boots, blade, and pommel).


I like how this looks already! This is going to be a joy to paint, I can tell. (Hope I haven't just jinxed myself.) Keep it simple, and it'll work fine. Maybe some simple freehand on the tabard, if anything.

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Made some more progress on him this evening. I brought up the walnut brown with blackened brown, mixed in some intense brown (thanks, Talespinner, for the recipe), and finally -- on the leather-looking bits -- added some tanned leather to the mix to brighten up the reflections. The bedroll is deliberately dull and diffuse; I wanted to give the impression of rough fabric rather than worn leather. The grip of the sword is a bit overdone; I think I'll wash that with something to bring the contrast down. (It doesn't look as bad in the hand as it does in photos, honest!)


The pauldrons, gambeson, gloves, and inner cloak (just over the shoulders) came up from cinder brown through deep red into blood red. I don't like how different it isn't from the cloak/vestment; I think I'll bring up the red highlight a bit more. Again, to make the material contrast more apparent, I'll keep the brighter bits fairly small -- as opposed to the vestment, which is more uniform.


Finally, the vestment: plain old dark red triad, red brick through deep red into blood red. I'm keeping this one dark to contrast with the stole and trim (which I had said was green ochre, but was really a mix of green ochre with cinder brown). I plan to bring that up pretty bright.


Not quite sure what to do on the scabbard, but I'll figure something out. The remaining leather bits will get highlighted as usual (up from cinder brown through tanned leather), and then I'll start on the metal.


Oh yeah: pics!


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Got some more work done on the figure today:


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The stole came up through green ochre to a combination of green ochre, tanned leather, and GW's golden yellow; same thing for the trim on the gambeson. I outlined the eyes (and did the eyebrows) in walnut brown, the whites of the eyes in pure white, and the pupils in walnut brown again. (The right eye took me at least four attempts to get somewhat reasonable.) I brought up the brown leather bits by mixing in leather brown, then tanned leather, with cinder brown. I redid the gambeson in cinder brown mixed with more and more terran khaki; once that was done, I added in some GW blood red and did the wrapping on the scabbard.


Finally, I took some walnut brown, watered it down significantly, and started shading the sword. I'm not too pleased with how it's turned out so far, and part of that comes from the fact that the sword blade is pretty rough compared to the cast model. In general it's not quite as interesting as I'd hoped for, and I'm not quite sure how to correct for that.

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Here's the next progression in the series. I added highlights to the big sword's blade and pommel with true silver, and to the brass bits with new gold. Then I added bands to the robe and stole using the "opposite" colours. Those aren't quite right yet; I think I need to line them in something darker, like walnut brown, to really finish them off and clean up the transition between the two colours. Similarly with the red "spike" on the blade -- I'm trying to add more interest there, but it's not "there" yet.


After calling that "done" for the night, I went to work on the base. I started by washing the bare gesso in a few coats of cloudy grey mixed with breonne blue; after that, I added some more blue to the mix and washed it into the shadows. Once I'd shaded the base properly, I mixed some intense brown with pure white (and a lot of flow improver -- relatively speaking) for the highlights. I can't tell whether I like it or hate it, but it's starting to grow on me in the photos.




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Those stripes on the stole and tabard, and the red line on the sword, look much better with some walnut brown edging:




I'm thinking some more shadows on the base -- broader shadows, rather than washes into small crevices -- and it's done. Did I miss anything?

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Sorry, Ferox--I've been checking in daily, but haven't made time to comment; my apologies!


I think he is coming along well. I think the darklining of the yellow helps it to "pop" against the red. I agree with you on taking the shadows deeper on the base. You have done a very good job on the figure itself and have some very dark areas in the tabard; I think the base should deserve the same treatment. Otherwise my eye is drawn down toward the base. The blade seems a bit flat relative to the rest of the figure as well, IMHO. I think pushing the shading and highlighting both will help to sell the metallic look. You need strong contrast to help sell the illusion of metal. Derek did a Laroche mini this year with a similar sword positioning that would be good for reference: http://www.reapermini.com/forum/index.php?...&hl=laroche. Finally, I'd like to see something more on the lips...they seem to blend a bit with the rest of the skintone on the face. Perhaps a hint more red mixed with your basecoat skintone?

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Okay, after nearly a week of not being able to block off enough time to finish this guy (or so I thought), I got 'im done in about fifteen minutes. The key was adding some black (and a bunch of flow improver and water) to my "rock shadow" colour and bringing out the shading on the base, and highlighting the sword with Vallejo's metal medium (or as I like to call it now, "liquid shiny"). I'm willing to call this figure "done" -- at least until the next round of crits comes in -- so new pics are up in the Show Off section.

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